1.01.2015

Players, Haters, Fakers: Pageantry in 2014

Taylor Swift missed her call & Donald Trump's complexion is still orange


PHOTO CREDIT: MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION

 Dethronements, demotions & resignations: A big chunk of drama in pageantry in 2014 is due to beauty queens being fired, demoted or resigning from their post. On January 20th, Miss Nicaragua 2013 Nastassja Bolívar (above) had her crown taken away, according to a statement from the country’s local Miss Universe franchise. The surprise move has shocked the country. The director of the franchise, Karen Celebertti, stated that Bolivar had failed to fulfill her duties. Celebertti decided that Bolívar “will have no involvement in the official events” for the Miss Nicaragua Organization. Celebertti alleged that the conflict began shortly after Bolívar was elected to represent Nicaragua, and insubordination led to the beauty queen losing her title.  It appears that the origin of the conflict occurred before the Miss Universe pageant, when Bolívar “in her own decision” left pageant preparation in Nicaragua and moved to Miami. The beauty queen also allegedly removed her manager, and gave that role to her mother. To avoid giving the country a bad image, Celebertti allowed Bolívar to enter Miss Universe, and paid her entry fee, airplane ticket and baggage.
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On January 7, Manhunt France Ricardo Pinto 2014 was dethroned for failing to fulfill his contract and was succeeded by his first runner-up, Thibaud Marchand. Pinto was also charged of providing false information about his residency.
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On April 11th, Detlef Tursies, the president of World Beauty Organization, dethroned the outgoing Top Model of the World 2013, Monica Palacios of Colombia, just one day before crowning her successor. Palacios broke an important clause in her contract that forbids her to defame and malign the pageant (she should know better!) It appears that since Palacios arrived in Egypt where the 2014 was taking place, she had been badmouthing Tursies, the staff, the contestants, and the judges. 
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PHOTO CREDIT: ZIMBIO.COM

In May 2014, Jasmine Stringer (above), the reigning Miss Teenager from Australia, has resigned because pageant organizers were bullying her financially. “When I first entered the pageant, my main cause was to make a stand against Cyber bullying however, for the past 3 months I have been bullied by the Miss Teenager Universe organisation run by Toni Berganza in Guatemala who has sent me threats and ultimatums involving finances which as a 17 year old I do not have,” she said in a statement. “I would highly recommend that teenage girls from around the world do their own research before entering a contest.” (Uhmmmm... yeah!)
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In a press conference on November 9, the Miss Ukraine Universe Organization announced that the current Miss Universe Ukraine 2014, Anna Andres has stepped down from her title as Miss Ukraine Universe 2014 due to school obligations. Her 1st runner-up, Diana Garkusha from Kharkov has been promoted to Miss Ukraine Universe 2014 and will representing the Ukraine at the 63rd edition of Miss Universe pageant Doral, Florida on January 25, 2015. Andres is the second Miss Universe 2014 contestant to have stepped down from her position. A week earlier, Miss Universe China 2014 Nora Xu was replaced by her 1st runner-up, Karen Hu, citing school obligations as well.


REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

   Miss Asia Pacific World ousted its 2014 winner, Myanmar model May Myat Noe (above) because she was rude and disrespectful, contest organizers headed by Lawrence Choi said. After the announcement, the 18-year-old allegedly ran off with the pageant's $100,000 crown. That's right. The organizers called her "rude and disrespectful" - this coming from the same organizers who mistreated, threatened and allegedly sexually harassed some of the contestants from the first edition of the pageant back in October 2011. Ha! On December 11, a fact-finding panel formed by Jun Won Young, chairperson of the organizing committee for Miss Asia Pacific Supertalent of the World (yup! a not-so shrewd attempt to change its name) confirmed that Noe was telling the truth when she alleged that the organizers had urged her to give sexual favors to some rich Korean businessmen. And speaking of Choi, the panel revealed that he had committed misappropriation and embezzlement during the previous pageants and was imprisoned for fraud in 2013 and is now on probation.
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In a press release dated November 14, the Miss World Panama organizers announced that the outgoing Miss World Panama 2014, Raiza Erlenbaugh, has been dethroned for failing to fulfill her obligations as written in the contract. Sources also reported that she had gained weight, that she neglected going to the gym, and that she would have to reuse the same wardrobe that wore while competing in Miss United Continents since it was the only kind that fit her. She was replaced by a runner-up, Nicole Pinto, who was sent to London for Miss World. Pinto is also the reigning Miss America Latina del Mundo  2014, a title she won on September 6 in the Dominican Republic. 
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Just weeks after being crowned Miss Universe Thailand, Weluree "Fai" Ditsayabut  has stepped down from her title after receiving criticism for comments she made against the country's pro-government activists. The 22-year-old beauty queen broke the news to reporters in Bangkok in June saying, "I felt under pressure, I tried to improve myself but what I could not stand was to see my mother stressed." Shortly after Ditsayabut  won the competition on May 17, controversial comments she made on her Facebook page that predated the contest were resurfaced. She referred to pro-government demonstrators, who are known as Redshirts, as "dirty" and "evil activists" that should "all be executed."


PHOTO CREDIT: ANDRE LAMAR/DOVER POST
On June 14, 24-year-old Amanda Longacre (above) was crowned Miss Delaware and less than two weeks later she was informed she would be losing her title. She would turn 25 in October, disqualifying her from the competition, because according to Miss America regulations the pageant requires contestants be between the ages of 17 and 24. "I lost everything and they want to erase me forever," Longacre told the news station. The former  pageant winner said she was unaware of the rules when she entered the competition.  She also said that the organization is to blame for the oversight. "It’s not really quite fair if somebody is allowed to turn 25 during January and be 25 for almost 75 percent of their reign." A month later, Longacre filed a $3 million lawsuit against state pageant officials. 
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On June 21, Elizabeth Fechtel was overjoyed to be crowned Miss Florida but only five days into her reign she received a shocking call. There had been a scoring error. She was no longer Miss Florida, and was now relegated to first runner up. The woman who had initially come in second, Victoria Cowen, was elevated to Miss Florida and would be eligible to compete in the Miss America pageant in September 2014.  
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In early August, Thabiso Phiri, Miss Zimbabwe, had been forced to resign following the release of nude pictures of her on social media by her boyfriend. The pageant organizers staged another pageant to crown a new queen - Catalina Makaya, 19 - but barely two months into her reign, Makaya was dethroned for misbehaving, for not attending required meetings, and for disobeying the organization's rules. Makaya claimed that she denounced the Miss Zimbabwe organization after an argument with its president, Marry Chiwenga, as to how she would be prepared for Miss World. Makaya was replaced by her first runner-up, Tendai Bongani Hunda.
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STEPHANIE DE ZORZI & OSMEL SOUSA. PHOTO CREDITS: VENEVISION/UNIVISION
In early November, Osmel Sousa, the president of Miss Venezuela Organization, decided not to send Miss Earth Venezuela 2014 Stephanie De Zorzi  to Miss Earth 2014. Zorzi had been working as a model in Mexico for several months and it appears that she had gained an extra twelve kilograms which was unacceptable to Sousa. She was replaced by her successor, Maira Alexandra Rodríguez who would then win the Miss Earth Water 2014 title in the Philippines. Nevertheless, a merciful Sousa allowed De Zorzi to keep her title. 

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The Beast in Beauties: Pageantry can produce the world's most beautiful women but it can also produce the world's most beautiful women with the ugliest intentions. Take, for instance, Sally Aponte Tejada, 23, who represented the Dominican Republic  in Miss World 2012. Aponte Tejada, her husband Jerry Tejada (above photos), and  two other Miami residents were arrested and convicted of bank-related fraud on December 3. Detectives said the group deceived banks into believing that they were account holders who had their accounts raided when they had made all of the withdrawals themselves. They also ran a credit card fraud scheme to defraud financial institutions out of more than $100,000. 
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On January 26, A former Nuestra Belleza Tamaulipas beauty queen and former Nuestra Belleza Latina contestant was arrested early Sunday outside a local bar in North Laredo, Texas. Police charged Barbara Falcon-Prieto, 24, with interfering with a police officer’s duties, a misdemeanor. Security officers from Agave Azul told police that a man was trying to exit the bar with an alcoholic drink in his hand. Authorities say Falcon-Prieto interfered with an officer attempting to talk to a "rowdy" man involved in the incident. “(Falcon-Prieto) started to pull the officer’s right arm and hands from the (man detained by police), impeding and interfering while the officer was trying to hold the rowdy subject during the investigation,” said Investigator Joe E. Baeza, spokesman for the Laredo Police Department.

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PHOTO CREDITS: BLOOMINGTON POLICE/MISS AMERICA ORGANIZATION
On December 10, a former Miss Indiana pageant winner was arrested in Bloomington on several charges. The police had received a report of an intoxicated female knocking on the caller's apartment door for about half an hour. The caller said the female was banging on the door and yelling, "let me in." Officers arrived found Terrin Thomas (above) still outside of the door. Thomas won the Miss Indiana 2013 pageant, a preliminary to Miss America. Bloomington police said Thomas appeared to be intoxicated based upon her slurred speech and abusive attitude toward them. The officer also reported noticing a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Thomas. Now, what do you think are the chances for her being invited to future Miss America-related events?  If the Miss America Organization is so committed to elevating women and making them better human beings, you'd figure that they would reach out to Thomas and offer to help her kick her habit, no?
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On November 19, Jamie Lynn France, 23, the 2009 Miss Teen Oregon-World, was arrested in a Salem, Oregon motel room and was charged with one count each of possession of methamphetamine, possession of heroin and possession of suboxene,  a prescription medicine to treat opiate addiction. It appears cops raided the room to bust a dealer. She was booked into the Marion County Correctional Facility and later released on $30,000 bail.

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Top left: Monica Spear with her daughter Maya. Center left: Fans mourn the tragic death of Monica and her ex-husband Thomas Berry. Bottom left: a screen shot of Monica's Instagram video posted on Dec. 31, 2013 - six days before her demise. Right: Monica crowned as Miss Venezuela 2004.

V is for Venezuela... and Violence: On January 6, Monica Spear, Miss Venezuela 2004, was in her native Venezuela on vacation with her ex-husband. Thomas Henry Berry, and their five-year-old daughter, Maya. On a highway in central Carabobo, when the three were inside their car waiting for assistance after the vehicle had broken down, Spear and Berry were killed during an attempted robbery and their daughter shot and wounded in the leg. Spear's tragic death sent shock waves across the world and a country that had already been spiraling down into total chaos - political, economic and social. Monica's death was not in vain; it inspired her Miss Universe 2005 fellow competitor, Chelsea Cooley, Miss USA 2005, to establish a foundation in Monica's name. It also inspired  Miss Trujillo 2005 Angelika Hernandez Dorendorf to start "Misses4Peace" that calls for beauty queens and kings, past and present, to pose for the camera holding signs that bear their titles and the hashtag #Misses4Peace with the goal of mourning the loss of Spear and other Venezuelans who were victims of violent crimes or were brutally attacked for protesting peacefully. Check out the official website: http://www.misses4peace.com/index.php/en/ 


Venezuela, despite its reputation as the world's most successful nation in pageantry, has proven to be the unsafest country in the Western Hemisphere. 
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PHOTO CREDIT: ETHAN MILLER/GETTY IMAGES

Come out, come out from wherever you are:  In early March, Djuan Trent, 27, who won the crown of Miss Kentucky in 2010 and finished in the top 10 of the Miss America competition in 2011, has made history by coming out as a lesbian – the first national pageant contestant to do so. She made the announcement in a lengthy post on her blog. 

"I have written and re-written and deleted and restarted this post more times than I care to share," she wrote, "and after all of that I have finally realized: 'There ain't nothin' to it, but to do it.' So, here we go folks …" 

"I am queer."  Ta-dah!
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PHOTO CREDIT: GALLO IMAGES

Setting the record straight: On April 29, Miss South Africa 2014 Marilyn Ramos released a press statement hitting back at a well-known local tabloid for calling her the “worst Miss SA ever”.  Ramos did not identify the magazine and said that their “derogatory comments” was a “personal attack” on her as a person. Don't get me wrong; even though I wouldn't change anything from the year of me wearing the crown, I would be lying if I said everything came easy. More often than not, I was presented with some major obstacles that I had to overcome all by myself. 

“Because of these obstacles people are still asking questions like 'why were you so rarely seen in the media and public eye?'; 'Is it true that you were more than often unavailable telephonically?' and 'What exactly happened at Miss World and Miss Universe?'”

Ramos blamed the organizers of Miss South Africa for not documenting the events and charities that she had attended, for not providing her wardrobe in both international competitions, and that no one from the organization even come to send her off. “I still went ahead and represented my country to the best of my abilities. The fact that I didn't place at either pageant wasn't because of anything I did or didn't do. I tried my utmost best, poured my heart and soul into it, and firmly believe that it just wasn't my time. I think it is also fair to mention that I was not the only Miss South Africa, that did not place at Internationals; in fact, there were three other Miss South Africa’s that did not place in previous years. 

"Perhaps the absence of a South African director played a role while 99% of all contestants had someone from the national organisation present for meetings, events and the final show.” (Perhaps? No, Marilyn. If the director does not care about his/her candidate, then this director should step down and be replaced by someone who does!)
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PHOTO CREDIT: DARK MOON RISING

Can you say "opinionated?"On February 19, Cuban-born, Venezuelan-raised former Miss World Venezuela turned singer and actress Maria Conchita Alonso (above) told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV that movie director Oliver Stone "got paid" to support the Venezuelan government, a dictatorship being infiltrated by foreign interests that ultimately pose a threat to the United States. Alonso blasted the bloody dictators: "This is a war about the next-door neighbors of the United States. The Cubans are there. The Russians. The Iranians. The Chinese. Just now, in the past few days, planes full of soldiers from Cuba have been arriving in Venezuela. Chinese are also arriving in Venezuela." On May 9, Alonso stood amid hundreds of fired-up Venezuelan-Americans in front of the White House to protest the Venezuelan government and advocate for U.S. sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. On September 18, the Venezuelan government declared that it has begun the process of stripping Alonso of her Venezuelan citizenship for her criticism of the Maduro regime. And on December 18, Alonso took to Twitter and lambasted U.S. President Barack Obama for his decision to normalize relations with communist Cuba.

Hell hath no fury like an armed, Cuban-born, Venezuelan-raised, naturalized American citizen.
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Will the real Miss Supranational stand up? From the looks of it, the one produced by the Polish Gerhard Parzutka von Lipinski is the real one; we actually see the 2014 winner Asha Bhat of India being crowned by her predecessor, Mutya Datul, during the lavish production that took place on December 5 in Poland. On the other hand, the one run by the German Carsten Mohr is only as real as it gets - in his imagination. Mohr's version originally called for a staged pageant that was supposed to take place in Udaipur, India last November 14, but Mohr - via the Miss Supranational TV Facebook page - posted that the Indian government had set restrictions on visas due to the Ebola virus outbreak - which forced Mohr to cancel his pageant and elect the winner (based on photographs) with the help of "an international jury." The lucky "winner" is Yenniffer Poleo of Venezuela. Mohr also posted that Poleo's "win" and image would be used to promote a real pageant to be held in January 2015.  Meanwhile, there is much skepticism among pageant fans who suspect that India's victory in von Lipinski's edition was strategically engineered to piss off Mohr and to persuade Indian fans that Mohr's edition is the fake one. It worked! Bhat was given a warm reception by Indian fans during her homecoming three weeks ago! Sorry, Carsten... but this time, Mohr is less. LOL! 
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PHOTO CREDITS: GIANTBOB.COM / GETTY IMAGES

A Hole in the Universe: For the first time in the 63-year history of Miss Universe, the pageant is skipping a year; in other words, no pageant was held in 2014, much to the dismay - and frustration - of pageant fans. Pageant owner Donald Trump (above, right) had tweeted at one point that ten countries were bidding to host the 2014 pageant but he never mentioned their names. As the month of September rolled in, there was still no official announcement of the dates and venue. Then suddenly on September 23, MUO released a statement confirming that the next pageant will be held in Doral, Florida on January 25, 2015. Yup, you read it right! 2015! In the press release, MUO does not refer to the 63rd edition of the pageant as "Miss Universe 2014" - which made fans assume that the next pageant would be called "Miss Universe 2015." But wait. On the official Facebook page of Miss Universe dated Dec. 16, 2014, the admin posted this:



... which means that a 2014 pageant will be held in 2015! Makes sense? Somewhat. But what caused the delay? We can only speculate that Trump had made up the "ten countries bidding" claim, or that perhaps he was telling the truth but in the end none of the countries could afford the hosting fee - which prompted Trump to move the pageant back to American soil. But why Doral of all places? In the press release, Trump has this to say: “The City of Doral is experiencing a record amount of economic growth and has gained attention from Fortune 100
companies in the short time since its incorporation in 2003. In its 11 years of being an established city, Doral has become internationally recognized for its outstanding commercial and industrial accomplishments. Doral is a symbol of success and holding the Miss Universe Pageant here will amplify its reputation as a world showcase city.”  

Fair enough. But having the 2014 pageant in 2015 has inconvenienced a handful of national directors who were forced to withdraw their candidates who would rather pursue their studies or accept lucrative modeling jobs instead of waiting for the pageant to occur. On the upside, the average temperature in southern Florida during winter is in the mid-70s, so everybody bring their swimsuit and suntan lotion! Woohoo!
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MARC ANTHONY & DAYANARA TORRES. / RON GALELLA, LTD./WIREIMAGE

Hmmm... she's not used to poverty: In June, the latest court battle between Marc Anthony and ex-wife Dayanara Torres, Miss Universe 1993, was finally settled. A judge ruled that the singer must pay $26,800 a month in child support for his two sons, Christian Anthony Muñiz and Ryan Anthony MuñizTorres was originally asking that the amount be raised from $13,400 a month to $123,426 but was denied her request. She testified that Jennifer Lopez's ex only saw his sons 35 days in 2013, which Anthony later disputed. She also told the court that 10 years have passed since her divorce and her needs have changed. In addition to her child support requests, Torres estimated that she needs between $4,000-$7,000 a month for a nanny and housekeeper. Torres and Anthony were married in 2000 and divorced in 2004. Per their initial marital agreement, Torres received a house in Florida, a BMW, a Lincoln Navigator, a golf club membership, as well as a vacation budget. Anthony also paid for Torres' legal fees for the divorce in the amount of $70,000. 

We still wonder if Dayanara's life would have been less dramatic if she had stayed in the Philippines and married her old flame, the actor Aga Muhlach.
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BRUCE FORSYTH & ANN SIDNEY AT A PRESS DANCE IN BOURNEMOUTH, 1964.
(DAILY MAIL UK) INSET LEFT: ANN WHEN SHE WON MISS WORLD 1964 (GETTY IMAGES). INSET RIGHT: ANN TODAY (FROM ANN'S WEBSITE)

Worldly snub: Ann Sidney of the United Kingdom was crowned the 14th Miss World in London on November 12, 1964 - fifty years ago. She was dating English television personality and entertainer Bruce Forsyth before and during her reign while he was still married to Penny Calvert, but had told Ann that he was separated. He was 16 years her senior. The 2014 Miss World pageant took place in London on December 14 and Ann had expected the Miss World Organization to invite her to the final and to celebrate her 50th coronation anniversary, but it never happened. On her blog dated December 12, 2014, Ann writes: "It is my belief that I have been shunned because I have dared to speak out about my time as Miss World."  MWO had committed a terrible decision by not inviting Ann to the 2014 pageant; instead, they preferred the company of a royal jerk (uhmmm... yeah... believe it or not, he's now Sir Bruce Forsyth) who cheated on his wife and toyed with the emotions of a then vulnerable young woman. Ann, we can't wait to read your memoir. And if MWO will not recognize your 50th coronation anniversary, Critical Beauty will! Expect a surprise soon!
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LEMIGOVA & NAVRATILOVA. CREDIT: URI SCHANKER/GC IMAGES

There is no love in this love: Julia Lemigova, 42, who represented the former USSR in Miss Universe 1991 where she placed third, married long-time girlfriend and tennis superstar, Martina Navratilova, 58, in New York City on December 15. So Julia competes in Miss Universe in 1991, moves to France to set up her own cosmetic firm, marries a wealthy French banker in 1997, gives birth to a baby boy in 1999 but who dies at 6 months of age, her husband is shot to death by a dominatrix prostitute in 2005, gives birth to two daughters by different fathers, becomes romantically involved with Martina in 2009, and ties the knot with the world's most successful female tennis superstar! And her rollercoaster life started with winning a beauty pageant! We wish her and Martina the best of luck in their marriage. And if you know how the word "love" is used in tennis, it wouldn't apply in this couple's blissful relationship!
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Violence does not discriminate:  Monica Spear's untimely and tragic death in early January was just the beginning of more tragedies that would befall other Venezuelan pageant celebrities.

On January 8, Ángela Ramírez,  former Miss Cojedes and Miss Latinoamérica 2013, was assaulted in the home of her parents in the city of Tovar (Mérida). She and her parents were threatened by the robbers who stole their belongings.

On January 11 in the city of Valencia, Mister Venezuela 2012 Jessús Zambrano was mugged by a gunman who stole his cellphone, watch and cash. He later took to Twitter condemning the unsafe state of Venezuela and the gangs that run the country. #NoMasViolenciaVenezuela

EL CARABOBENO/HANDOUT/EPA

On February 19, Genesis Carmona (above), 22, a Venezuelan beauty queen and student demonstrator was fatally shot in the head during a political protest in Caracas. She later became the symbol of protest against the Nicolás Maduro government during the time of demonstrations in the country. Carmona had served as 2013 Miss Turismo for her state of Carabobo.

On April 4, Anaís Osío, a candidate for Miss Aragua 2014 whose winner would compete in Venezuela 2014, died of heart attack. She had been suffering from congenital heart disease, and on September 13, 2013, she successfully underwent a procedure to install a pacemaker. After months of recovery, Osío, who  had always dreamed of winning Miss Venezuela, consulted with pageant director Osmel Sousa who had suggested that Osío needed to have her breasts enlarged, which she had in January 2014. This was followed by months of intense exercise and strict diet, which resulted in a loss of 30 kilograms and which has been blamed for her death. She was 25. 

On May 3, the outgoing Miss Earth 2013 Alyz Henrich posted on her Instagram that her cellphone was stolen by a gang of delinquent juveniles in Maracaibo. She also said that it was not the first time that she had been victimized.


On August 8 in Caracas, a group of young thugs stole the van belonging to Osmel Sousa, the national director of Miss Venezuela. The driver received death threats and was forced to give up the vehicle. Fortunately, Osmel was not in the van.


Other notable deaths:



The bodies of  Maria Jose Alvarado (above), 19, and her sister Sofia Trinidad, 23, were found nearly a week since they were last seen on November 13. Both were last spotted leaving a party in the Santa Barbara region and four people have been questioned over the pair's disappearance, including Maria Alvarado's boyfriend.  The women had been shot and their bodies buried in a field by a river.  And just a few days after Alvarado's death, her former hairstylist, Luis Alfredo Garcia, was found murdered in his bath tub. Alvarado was crowned Miss Honduras World 2014 on April 26 in San Pedro Sula, Cortes, and was set to compete in the Miss World competition in London on 14 December. 

On December 21, Reinaldo José González Colmenares, who was Mister Bolívar in Mister Venezuela 2004, was killed in a car accident. He was 31.

On February 21, Miss Peru 1976 Rocio Rita Lazcano died of heart attack while she was visiting her daughter in Italy. She competed in Miss Universe 1976 where she won the Best National Costume award.

PHOTO CREDIT: FACE OF MALAWI
On March 14, former Miss Malawi Faith Cutepie Chibale (above) lost her battle to tubercolosis. She was 24. She was supposed to compete in Miss World 2011 but could not go due to lack of sponsorship.

On April 2, Diana Gabriela Vallecillo Alemán, who was a semifinalist in Miss Honduras World 2009, was killed in a car accident on her way to the capital city of Tegucigalpa. Authorities reported that she had lost control of her car which hit a gutter. She died instantly from head wounds. She was 25.

On September 16, Shurina Rose Wiah, Miss Liberia 2009, died after not eating for a week as she suffered from a year of malnutrition and depression following the death of her sister. Wiah's death was initially attributed to the ebola virus, but her mother later denied this. 


BESS MYERSON / PHOTO CREDIT: PHOTOSEEUM
On December 14, former Miss America (1945) Bess Myersondied in her Santa Monica home Dec. 14, Los Angeles County Coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter said. The New York Times first reported the death. Myerson who was the only Jewish Miss America and later forged a career in New York City government that ended in scandal.

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And the Country of the Year is... you guessed it! The Philippines! The country may not have equaled or surpassed its amazing feat in 2013, but it continued its successful streak in 2014. There were nearly 30 international beauty pageants and modeling competitions held last year, and Philippine representatives placed in at least 25 of them, the most notable of whom include Jamie Herrell (Miss Earth 2014), Odessa Mae Tadaya (Miss Heritage 2014), Kris Tiffany Johnson (2nd runner-up, Miss Intercontinental 2014), Glennifer Perido (2nd runner-up, Miss Tourism International 2014), Jerwin Mark Sunglao (Starhunkz International 2014), Renee Soraya Hassani (1st runner-up, Miss Diversity Culture International 2014), Adam Davies (3rd runner-up, Mister Model International 2014), Yvethe Marie Santiago (Top 20, Miss Supranational 2014), Valerie Weigmann (Top 25, Miss World 2014)


MISS EARTH 2014 COURT. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: MAIRA ALEXANDRA RODRIGUEZ OF VENEZUELA (MISS EARTH FIRE 2014), JAMIE HERRELL OF THE PHILIPPINES (MISS EARTH 2014), ANDREA NEU OF USA (MISS EARTH AIR 2014), ANASTASIA TRUSOVA OF RUSSIA (MISS EARTH FIRE 2014) / PHOTO CREDIT: MISS EARTH TV

The second place goes to... the U.S.A.! Yes, it seems that American reps are making a comeback on international stage. Andrea Neu  earned the title of Miss Earth Air 2014 during the Miss Earth 2014 finals in the Philippines last November 29. Allyn Rose placed 3rd runner-up in Miss Supranational 2014. And Elizabeth Safrit placed 2nd runner-up in Miss World 2014. Americans also won a handful of minor competitions: Sabrina Pinion (Mrs. Universe 2014), Shelynne Paige Hoyt (Miss Model of the World 2014), Tabitha Leonor Lipkin (Miss Scuba International 2014), and Susan Romanishin (Reina Mundial del Banano 2014). Incidentally, Neu has now the distinction of being the first American woman to have won two major national titles (she was Miss U.S. International 2013 and the current Miss Earth United States 2014) and placed in both Miss International 2013 (Top 15) and Miss Earth 2014 (second place).

And last but not least, the third place goes to... Thailand! This Southeast Asian country is quickly inching its way to pageantry stardom with successful placements in the major leagues: Patraporn Wang won Miss Intercontinental 2014, Punika Kulsoontornrut placed second runner-up in Miss International 2014, and Sasi Sintawee placed in the top 16 of Miss Earth 2014. Expect Thailand to make better and bigger gains in 2015!


By Rafa Delfin  

Updated: January 5, 2015 to include the mention of Bess Myerson's death

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